This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

International information architecture

Peter Morville discusses international aspect of information architecture in his latest Semantics Column.

Semantic Studios - International Information Architecture

The ways we categorize are rooted in language and culture. This creates unique challenges for information architects. For example, a web site targeted for a Japanese audience may require a completely different structure and organization than its German equivalent. Localization isn't limited to translation.

The prime complaint is that English-language (a mostly US-based) developers have not developed enough understanding of how things translate to other cultures.

He covers everything from the simple English-language differences across countries to front pages designed exactly the same in multiple languages. A layout that makes sense in English may not make sense in German or Japanese, because each culture organizes its own information / language differently. He also draws a parallel between US foreign policy and the perception that the "US wants to take over the world" appearing in websites that don't account for differing sensibilities across cultures.

Check out the first appendix. He's got related comments from his international readers, many of which fully support Morville's arguments.

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